Comments Posted By brahma dasa
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Devotee: ĆrÄ«la PrabhupÄda, should we call all the women âmotherâ?
PrabhupÄda: Yes. And treat it like mother. Not only call, but treat it like mother.
Morning Walk â October 25, 1975, Mauritius:
When I joined Iskcon in 1972 both male and female devotees referred to each other as prabhu. Sometime later in the 70âs (as per the above quote) the men were told that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to address all women as mataji.
So contrary to Visakha Priya dasiâs testimony (posted below) the use of âmatajiâ was being used in Iskcon during Srila Prabhupadaâs time. Indeed, the use of mataji is not generally used in gaudiya math, there the use of di di or sister is more common.
(btw. Pusta Krsna prabhu was with Srila Prabhupada on the above posted morning walk).
âSomehow, in the late nineteen eighties, the âPrabhu/Matajiâ syndrome developed, probably as the result of many disgruntled ISKCON devotees taking shelter of India after their gurusâ falldowns. Previous to that, most devotees would only visit India at Gaura Purnima time and we would call one another âPrabhu,â regardless of gender consideration.(Visakha Priya dasi )â
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 18.04.2013 @ 18:24
Where are the sustainable eco-friendly Iskcon cow-protection farms?
The author of this article writes: âI have not actually been able to find a Vegan producing farmstyle that is sustainable and eco friendly that actually follows its credentials. All of the Vegans that I know just shop at supermarkets, their local grocer, a farm shop producing âorganicâ vegetables and etc.â
The same could be said about Iskcon farms i.e. I have not been able to find an Iskcon cow protection farm that is sustainable. All of the devotees that I know just shop at supermarkets, etc.
Case in point: I was involved in fund raising for an Iskcon farm in the late 1970âs. It had a thriving community and a magnificent commercial dairy herd. The problem was that in order to survive the community and the dairy herd required the support of collections from a team of brahmacaries who lived outside the farm on a bus. Now, forty years later, the farm’s grand commercial dairy is gone, devotees are employed outside the farm, and donations to support cow protection are solicited on the website. To my knowledge this is the situation facing all Iskcon farms.
Service on Iskcon farms is of course bhakti so there is nothing wrong with collecting donations etc. but if a collective farm requires the support of donations and outside employment to survive can it honestly be called a sustainable farm?
So practice what you preach. Create a truly sustainable eco-friendly cruelty free commercial dairy farm that can supply abundant milk to everyone and then implore vegans to drink the cruelty free milk that you offer.
Until then let vegans be vegans, and preach the philosophy of Mahaprabhu and live it such that persons attracted to adopting a cruelty free diet will also be attracted to chanting the holy name of Krsna.
AGAIN: The practice of Vaisnavism goes perfectly well with a cruelty free vegan diet.
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 28.03.2013 @ 01:33
Amino acids are different than vitamins. The Oxford American dictionary puts it like this: Amino acids are organic compounds that occur naturally in plant and animal tissues and are the basic constituents of proteins.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body. Vitamin B12 is a microbe/bacteria produced by microorganisms in the soil.
Suffice to say that doctors and nutritionists believe that an unfortified vegan diet is deficient in essential vitamin B-12, which supports the theory that humans are naturally omnivorousâmeant to eat both plants and animals or animal products such as milk.
Still, a vegan diet fortified by B-12 may be healthier than a lacto-vegetarian diet because cholesterol which is mainly derived from animal fat (milk products) contributes to a number of health problems particularly atherosclerosis.
The point is—BALANCE—in both diet and preaching and thatâs the problem with this articleâ-a complete lack of balance, which makes it appear unreasonable and fanatic even to devotees.
AGAIN, there is nothing wrong with a Vaisnava following a vegan diet and boycotting the modern dairy industry. Along with B-12 all a vegan has to do is add Krsna consciousness to his life in order to make it completely perfect.
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 21.03.2013 @ 20:26
Vegan diets have been linked to a multitude of health benefits including lowered cancer and heart disease risks and low blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity rates.
A well-planned vegan diet is generally low in saturated fat, void of cholesterol and high in plant nutrients but it’s true that one essential vitamin the diet is deficient in is B12. This vitamin generally found in animal products (such as milk) is used by the human body to create DNA and keep red blood cells and nerve cells healthy. Vegans can get this vitamin from fortified cereals, brewers yeast, tofu and other sources including supplements.
So a case can be made that human beings are naturally meant to eat animals or animal products, indeed the fact that humans have two canine teeth support the notion that they are naturally meant to eat meat. While the body can certainly be sustained by a carnivorous diet devotees are interested in more than mere maintenance, they are interested in developing the quality of mercy in order to make spiritual advancement. Indeed, the the quality of mercy is essential to genuine spiritual practice.
Devotees cultivate mercy by following a lacto-vegetarian prasadam diet and vegans cultivate mercy by following a pure vegetarian diet. Devotees who don’t have access to cruelty-free milk may as there conscience dictates follow a vegan prasadam diet in protest to the cruelty of factory farming. By not drinking milk they practice a different form of cow protection, one that discourages the breeding of animals for slaughter.
All considered the cultivation of the quality of Mercy is the common ground between devotees and vegans. This should be respected by both parties and built upon, and until devotees can provide cruelty-free milk there is no need to preach to vegans to become lacto-vegetarians. Instead let Vegans be vegans and inspire them to be Vaisnavas through purity of devotion.
Again, Vaisnavism is perfectly compatible with a vegan diet.
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 21.03.2013 @ 01:15
Mercy/cruelty free–a universal religious principle
Animal slaughter/meat eating is one of the four pillars of sinful life. This practice destroys âmercyâ and is so much more harmful then the other pillars that Srila Prabhupada said that if a disciple resumed their old sinful habits (intoxication, illicit sex etc.) he or she should still be considered a Vaisnava unless they ate meat.
Devotees have always preached against animal slaughter but it was PETA and similar secular organizations that were most successful in packaging and promoting the message throughout mainstream society because the concept of being âcruelty freeâ resonates with everyone. It transcends economic/political/religious divisions and has made the vegan lifestyle fashionable worldwide. WHY?
Because being âcruelty freeâ or merciful to other living entities is a universal religious, spiritual, and ethical principle, one that Vaisnavas have cherished and promoted since the beginning of time.
Thatâs why diatribes like these two embarrassing articles against Vegans in Iskcon are ill conceived.
While devotees differ with many vegans on details, the practice of Vaisnavism remains perfectly compatible with a vegan diet, and Vaisnavas are 100% in agreement with the principle of MERCY to animals, which is the foundation of the vegan movement.
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 20.03.2013 @ 01:31
Seeing that the MÄyÄvÄdÄ«s and others were fleeing, Lord Caitanya thought, âI wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also.â (Adi 7.31-32)
Purport: Here is an important point.âŠ.spread KáčáčŁáča consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose.
The Sunday Feast was established to introduce people to Krsna consciousness–so rather than of turning off vegans to Krsna bhakti why not accommodate them by offering plainly marked Vegan options at the Sunday feast? (Vegan fare offered to Krsna is just as much prasadam as milk products offered to Krsna.) Thus vegans would be encouraged to chant and associate with devotees–which would certainly satisfy Mahaprabhu’s desire to inundate everyone (even Vegans) in love of God as expressed in (Adi 7.31-32).
And there is nothing appasiddanta about being a vegan–so unless you can provide a cruelty-free alternative there is no necessity to preach to vegans to consume animal products.
AGAIN: There is absolutely no reason that a Vegan cannot practice Krsna consciousness and make a complete spiritual success of his life.
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 11.03.2013 @ 21:23
There is no reason whatsoever that a vegan cannot become a devotee of Krishna.
Scripture says that Krishna is fond of milk products. Still, one does not have to drink milk or offer milk to Krishna in order to be a devotee. Bhagavad-gita says, patram puspam phalam toyam—that if one offers to him with devotion a leaf, flower, water, or fruit, then he will accept it. The main ingredient mentioned in this verse is devotion, bhaktya prayacchati. It is the bhakti in the offering that satisfies Krishna. Therefore, if someone refrains from offering milk to Krishna because of conscientious objections over inhumane dairy farming methods, there is no harm.
On the other hand, I donât believe that all devotees should be mandated to boycott milk in opposition to the terrible cruelty factory farming; rather they should follow their conscience in this regard. However, whenever possible devotees should avoid buying milk from companies that grossly mistreat cows, even if milk from more humane companies is costlier. Fortunate are those who can alter their lifestyle in this regard.
Otherwise, one does not need to offer and consume milk in order to practice devotional service. A person can be vegan and still be a devotee of Krishna, but he or she should aspire to be a bhakta first and foremost, and a vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian, or whatever second. A bhakta is a person who values devotion to Krishna above all else.
Brahma dasa (ACBSP)
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 10.03.2013 @ 05:55
Dear Akruranath Prabhu,
Obviously, ISV under the leadership of Vaisesika Prabhu (and yourself) is presenting Krsna consciousness in an effective and sensitive manner. While I personally found the Swamiâs disingenuous remark distasteful I admit that it may have had some utility at the time; even though the statement âWe Know Nothing about Hinduismâ cannot be found on any official Iskcon website.
As for purdah, dowry, child marriage, forced widowhood, denial of education, and the rest, these are all classified internationally as human rights abuses and are illegal even in India (and rightly so). At times Srila Prabhupada offered reasoning in support of some of these practices as they existed in ancient Vedic civilization but he never attempted to institute any of them in his organization.
We donât live in ancient Vedic civilization; we live in present day Northern California where such strictures are universally abhorred. Neither will you find any devotees here or elsewhere interested in subjecting their beloved daughters to purdah, child marriage, forced widowhood, denial of education and the like, even though support for these things might be found somewhere in the dharma sastras. Neither are any of these socio-religious trappings in any way essential to the practice of Krsna consciousness
Therefore I see no need to tap dance around such a question. The straightforward answer is: Yes, women in India and elsewhere have suffered much abuse in the name of religion, but our philosophy teaches that ancient socio-religious strictures against women should be discarded in favor of essential spirituality (sarva-dharman parityajya).
Simply put, we are absolutely against the abuse of women in the name of Hinduism; and the practice of Krsna consciousness is open to everyone regardless of race, gender, or their socio-political views.
All the best, brahma
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 04.08.2012 @ 17:16
What Iâm hearing from you here is that you were enlivened by how cleverly the Swami sidestepped an embarrassing question at the Q and A booth at SF Rathayatra.
The problem I have with this is the lady or anyone else who heard the Swamiâs reply could within minutes know that he was being disingenuous.
She could go to Krishna.com and learn âISKCON is a branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism.â
Or she could go to Iskcon.org and read âKrsna consciousness is the Heart of Hinduism.â
Or she could go to Tovp.org and hear that Iskcon is âbuilding the largest Hindu temple in the world.â
Or by asking any of the Hindu Americans attending the festival she would know they almost all believed Iskcon a branch of Hinduism.
So while the Swamiâs remark may have had some utility at the time it is certainly not worth publicizing on the internet as a brilliant way to blow off a controversial question.
Better to acknowledge the downside of Hinduism (or Iskcon) with some humility, admitting the problems and the need to address them. After all the essence of Hindu spirituality is of course Krsna consciousness; it is not purdah, dowry, child marriage, forced widowhood, selective female abortions, denial of education and opportunity, and all the other forms of abuse that women in India have had to contend with for centuries.
All glories to Iskcon of Silicon Valley!
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 30.07.2012 @ 20:22
Lady: Do Hindus treat women as second-class citizens the way Muslim groups do?
Jayadvaita Swami: I do not know much about what Hindus do.
The Swami’s answer to the Lady’s question is diplomatic but disingenuous (not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does).
Every devotee knows that the answer to this question is– yes, by and large Hindus treat women as second class citizens
The question then is–Are women in Iskcon being treated as second class citizens?
The answer (I hope)–Not at Iskcon in Silicon Valley
Congratulations to Iskcon of Silicon Valley–a new beginning!
Comment Posted By brahma dasa On 26.07.2012 @ 18:59